Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer with Cheese on Top

Bruschetta is a delicious thing to do to tomatoes, onions, and garlic. So wonderful.  Do you know what’s even better?  Putting it on flat bread, sprinkling some cheese on it and heating it enough to melt the cheese.  Talk about awesome.  OH so very good.  Yum.
My bruschetta recipe comes from a full blood Italian woman who married a Dutch guy from my old church.  She would make it for the VBS leaders on the last date each year and oh what a special treat it was.  She had all the ingredients from her garden and we’d savor each bit.  The recipe is a little “to taste” so be sure to add things according to your own taste.
Bruschetta Pizza
What you need!
Fresh plum tomatoes – halved, seeded and diced
Fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and sliced thin
Fresh garlic cloves, halved and “Smooshed”
Sweet onion; diced fine
Red wine vinegar to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt; to taste
Ground black pepper
Flat Bread
Mozzarella cheese

Make it!Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season diced tomatoes in a bowl with salt and pepper. Add garlic and onions and toss. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar to taste. Mix well. Just before serving add basil leaves. Scoop spoonfuls of salad atop flatbread.  Sprinkle with cheese. 
Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

There's green things in my breakfast...

There is nothing quite a little veggie in your morning sweet bread.  Zucchini Bread is one of those awesome summer treats that you forget about all winter and once you get a rip zucchini – you have to try it out!  The weird thing to me is there seems to be no discernible bits of the veg in the actual bread.  It just makes for a really moist cinnamon bread.  My mom got me a big ol’ zucchini from the farmers market.  Soon – very soon – some of the zucchini blossoms in our garden will start producing zucchini of our own – then we’ll have bread coming out our ears!  I can’t wait!  Perhaps we’ll have to try eating it as a savory dish, but right now – I’ll keep going for the sweet.
Zucchini Bread3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp Salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour

Beat eggs till fluffy. Add sugar, Beat well. Stir in oil, vanilla, and zucchini. Then add dry ingredients. Turn into greased 9 x 13 pan or 2 loaf pans. Bake 325 for 50 - 60 min.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Whooooo turned 2?

Miss Bronwyn Grace had a birthday in June.  Can you believe she’s two?  We were having a tough time believing it could be true – until those terrible twos started sneaking around and letting themselves out. 
Our girl is two!  She’ll tell you that too.  I made her an owl cake – since that’s her room theme and well – it was just too cute not to do.
She’s a true blessing in our lives - we are so grateful to God that he entrusted us with her care.  Even when she’s screaming “No Mommy, NO!”

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

LuAnn's Pizza Dough - That's LuAnn with a capital A.

My mom makes the best pizza - hands down.  Chicago pizza to me is LuAnn Dekker pizza.  She has been making pizza for as long as I can remember.  Long ago she would make it on rectangle cookie sheets and we would cut our pizza into squares.  When baking stones became the new "it" thing, she got one and her pizza only got better.  Ever know anyone to wear out a pizza stone?  My mom did!  Ok maybe it cracked, but still it was well loved and well-seasoned. 
My pizza isn't the same as my mom's but it is close and delicious.  I use her crust recipe which isn't thin or thick, but somewhere in between.  Baking it on the stone makes for a crisp crust that isn't doughy at all.  Pile it up with your favorite sauce and toppings and enjoy some Dekker-style Pizza. 
LuAnn’s Pizza Dough
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 (generous tbls) olive oil
3/4 c tepid water
1 pkg. Rapid Rise yeast
corn meal

Proof yeast in tepid water for 5 minutes
Mix flour and salt in mixing bowl.  Add olive oil to proofed yeast and water then add to flour and salt. 
Mix with fork till moist and turn out on to lightly floured surface.
Knead until smooth.  About 5 minutes.
Place on oiled plate. Oil top of ball. Cover with bowl and let rise 30 minutes.
Put small amount corn meal on pizza stone.  Roll out dough on stone to the edges.  Top with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings you wish.  Bake at 400 about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hard Cooked Jesus Eggs

Eggs baked in the oven are destined for rubber - at least at my hands they are.
We celebrated Mother's Day with Andy's family at our house for brunch.  I had everything prepared ahead of time so it would be at little work as possible that morning.  That included this yuck egg dish.
2+ pounds of spinach cooked down into a tiny amount of cooked spinach, but well worth the time and effort to cook it up fresh with mushrooms, onions, and garlic.  I cooked this part the night before.  By time I was ready to bake, I made the wells with spoons and added each egg separately and carefully.
My propensity to overcook eggs in the oven starts with trying to cook too many dishes at one time.  The potato casserole and bacon were baking at the same time.  Thankfully Andy said the eggs worked better hard cooked.  I think he was being kind.  I think it depends on how you like your eggs.  I would imagine this dish would taste pretty yummy with a soft egg with a runny yolk.  Dip some toast and have a bit of spinach and mushroom - how can you go wrong?  Oh oh!! Call on me - I know!  Overcook your eggs. 
Baked Eggs with Spinach and Mushrooms
2 pounds (32 ounces) ounces fresh baby spinach or regular spinach leaves
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 small garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon table salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional; I skip this)
12 large eggs
6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
If you’ve just washed your spinach, no need to dry it before wilting it in the pan. If it’s already dry, bring 1/2 inch water to a boil in a very large ovenproof heavy skillet, then add half of spinach and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add remaining spinach and wilt in same manner, then cook, covered, over moderately high heat until spinach is tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Gently squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop. You will have about 2 cups fairly tightly packed cooked spinach.
Wipe skillet dry, then melt butter over medium-low heat. Cook onion and garlic until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high, then cook, stirring, until mushrooms have softened, exuded liquid and that liquid has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg (if using), and chopped spinach and bring back a simmer. Remove skillet from heat.
If baking eggs in this skillet, make 12 large indentations in mixture, each large enough to fit an egg. Otherwise, you can transfer this mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish and do the same there.
Do ahead: You can then set this aside for a few hours or up to one day in the fridge, covered.
When you’re ready to bake the dish, or about 30 minutes before serving, put oven rack in upper third of oven and heat oven to 450°F. Crack an egg into each well. Bake until whites are firm and yolks are still runny. You can check this by inserting a toothpick into various parts of the eggs and seeing whether they’re runny or set, which takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. The range is long due to different ovens and baking vessels. It’s better to have to check more often than to let them overcook.
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